The Mystery of the Headless Man
Early Modern • 48m
This story has everything: war, politics, betrayal, scandal, murder and at its heart a cracking forensic science mystery. This is the story of Simon Fraser, the 11th Lord Lovat of the Highland, also known as the Fox. In the late 1660s, Simon Fraser was born in a house on the banks of a burn in the Highlands of Scotland. Although he was initially not intended to become Chief of Clan Fraser, by luck and by guile in his early twenties, he discovered he had the best claim to this title. For decades his claim remained unstable, leading him into a wild career of political intrigue, violence, blood feuds and tested loyalties – all events that epitomised the Highlands during this tumultuous period. In 1745, Lovat made the most important decisions of his life when he decided to support Bonnie Prince Charlie’s claim for the British crown. His clan partook at the Battle of Culloden the following year, where the Jacobite rising was decisively defeated. It was the last pitched battle ever to be fought on British soil. After the Jacobite defeat at Culloden, Lovat was led to London in chains, convicted of treason and subsequently beheaded in 1747 - the last person in history to be beheaded by the British state for treason. Simon Fraser’s life was a fascinating one; yet his story becomes even more interesting following his death. After his execution it was claimed he was buried in London. His family, however, have always maintained that he was brought up to his native Highlands and buried in the family mausoleum. In this History Hit TV Original documentary, Dan joins Professor Sue Black, one of the world’s most respected forensic anthropologists, and her team from Dundee University, as they open the tomb and discover the truth.
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